rafflesmilano immerses visitors to milan design week 2022 in project walden

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Visitors to RafflesMilano during Milan Design Week 2022 travel virtually through the forest landscape of Lake Walden, famous as the place where American philosopher Henry David Thoreau cataloged his search for the harmony of nature. The project was designed by the Fashion and Design Institute of Milan and Rilgeno, the national consortium for the collection, recovery and recycling of wooden packaging in Italy. The virtual reality experience immerses guests in Thoreau’s forest – recreated with a cottage – where themes of sustainability and the circular economy, in particular the urgency of forest preservation, can be explored, understood and discussed.

Step into the Walden Project experience at RafflesMilan from June 7 to 11, 2022.

RafflesMilano x Rilegno

Through the exhibition RafflesMilano, the unconventional school of fashion and design located in the heart of Milan, creatively demonstrates how it encourages students, teaches and practices the use of new technologies to explore innovative opportunities in the field. design. Virtual reality is one such novelty that can expand conceivable scenarios, create immersive stories, and enable remote working. The Walden project associates the school with Rilegno, which for more than 25 years has been collecting and sending wood to recycling centers throughout Italy. Over 2 million tons of wood were collected and recycled in 2021 alone, from fruit crates to designer furniture and more. The collaboration showcases the ability of wood to be continuously recycled.

rafflesmilano virtually immerses visitors to milan design week 2022 in project walden

Walden; or, Life in the Woods

The VR exhibit is based on Henry David Thoreau’s most famous literary work, the Walden book; or, Essay on Life in the Woods. As the philosopher theorized about man and his relationship with nature, he retired for two years, two months, and two days to the woods in a self-built cabin on the shores of Lake Walden near Concord, Massachusetts. The experience proved to himself and to the conformist society of his time how a simple life experience could meet the obligations imposed by social conventions. The results led Thoreau to write a manifesto of the inner spiritual quest, theorizing and practicing the sense of harmony with nature as the meaning of human existence. His diary transcribes the small necessities, the sounds of the woods, the contemplation of the landscape and the reflections on the economy of material life.

rafflesmilano virtually immerses visitors to milan design week 2022 in project walden

An immersive virtual reality scenario was born when the initial concept evolved from a storyboard to the ideal scenario. Specialists were brought into the team to overcome software capabilities, time management, project focus and other challenges. Valentina Grilli, professor of painting techniques at RafflesMilano created the illustrations for the Walden project. Naturalistic subjects feature prominently in her works, as she enhances different painting techniques to evoke a sense of intimacy.

rafflesmilano virtually immerses visitors to milan design week 2022 in project walden

Virtual trip to the Thoreau forest

Guests of RafflesMilano will be virtually transported to the center of a lush forest, aptly named the Forest of Thoreau. The physical exhibition space will play on the senses of visitors as the leaves, terrain and wood on the ground recreate the impression of the forest. It helps extend the VR user experience through smell as well as feel on the feet. Visitors can explore the lake, woods, and even a cottage as if Thoreau, engage with nature, and contemplate their own relationship with nature.

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